Niagara Pride Inc., a community service LGBTQ+ organization servicing all of Niagara County, is hosting the first of a series of virtual community provider lunch and learn Zoom presentations starting at noon Feb. 19. The series will run at the same time on the third Friday of each month.
Niagara Pride has invited various community providers to present on the services they offer, whether they provide specific programming to the LGBTQ+ community or if the provider is affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Each lunch and learn will have approximately three to four representatives from various agencies, providing attendees with information about their agency and their services.
Attendees will have opportunities to go into separate breakout rooms within Zoom to ask the providers more specific questions. Attendees who opt to not go into the provider breakout sessions will have an opportunity to meet and socialize with fellow attendees in a safe and welcoming environment.
Given the wide range of needs that LGBTQ+ individuals and families have, Niagara Pride has scheduled providers from various fields, including:
√ Medical services (primary care; family health care; transgender health; reproductive health; HIV/AIDS testing, treatment, and prevention)
√ Mental health services / addictions counseling services
√ Domestic violence services
√ Food pantries / homeless shelters
√ Employment services (employment assistance; resume reviews; job placement services; career training; LGBTQ+ career networking)
√ Educational services (literacy training; skill development; tutoring)
√ Spiritual services (LGBTQ+ affirming ministries)
√ LGBTQ+ youth services
“Our organization has held in-person health fairs in the past, where the focus has been to showcase community providers who offer specific services to the LGBTQ+ community. They were very successful and well attended. However, in 2020, we were not able to do this due to COVID-19,” Niagara Pride President Ronald Piaseczny said. “As an organization, we wanted to find a new way to not only continue this yearly event, but also find ways to incorporate other community resources and providers who are desperately needed by individuals, but may not traditionally be seen at a health fair.”
The current schedule of providers includes:
•Feb. 19: Center for Elder Law and Justice; Niagara County Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Community Health Center of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Cheektowaga; First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara Falls
•Feb. 27: (noon-12:30 p.m. – special session featuring youth providers): GLYS Western New York Inc.; Youth Link & Be PrEPared programs
•March 19: Pride Center of WNY; Heart, Love & Soul; Horizon Health Services
•April 16: The breast and prostate peer education program at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center; U.S. Social Security Administration; Trans Health Care Services – Evergreen Health Services; Booker College Planning (a program designed to help students and families navigate the college admissions process)
•May 21: Salvation Army of Niagara Falls; Western Problem Gambling Resource Center; Save the Michaels
•June 18: Elderwood; Venture Forthe Inc.; Mental Health Association of Niagara County
•July 16: LGBT veteran care – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
•Aug. 20: City of Niagara Falls Office of Economic Development (presenting on information related to business and industrial development in the City of Niagara Falls, as well as on small business development)
A press release said, “Niagara Pride is also very excited to be working with Western Problem Gambling Resource Center to offer a free community training on the issue of problem gambling.”
Training will be held from noon to 1 p.m. April 9. It is eligible for free OASAS and/or social work CEU credit. To register for this training, contact Niagara Pride.
Community providers interested in being a presenter for the lunch and learn series are welcome to email Piaseczny at [email protected] or call 716-298-7656. Individuals interested in attending are asked to visit the Niagara Pride, Facebook site or website (www.niagarapride.org) for the Zoom link and dial-in information.